Eight months ago, we began a journey with A.J. Bryce and Trans-Genre Press, to bring this anthology to life. The idea for this anthology came about in 2006, while we were in graduate school together at the New College of California. The story behind the anthology was inspired by lovers, social justice activism, conversations about struggles in our intimate communities and global communities. We began to make connections between the external walls we were fighting to bring down, and the internal ones we had constructed, and were beginning to discover inside of ourselves. Coming to the realization of these connections made us want to take action. In 2010, we co-curated a multi-media, multi-genre show at the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco. The show, The Walls Project, brought our community together to discuss these ideas through the arts.
Over the years, we began talking about creating an anthology. We envisioned a larger gathering. A coming together of writers and artists whose perspectives could illuminate our complex relationships to walls.
After two rounds of submissions, well over 160, we have a manuscript. The selection process was emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically intense. (Seriously.) We were deeply moved and humbled by the stories and the poems and the art that we received. We were transformed by the rawness, the honesty, and the risks people took in their writing and art. Having to make choices between submissions – saying yes, and saying no – was one of the most difficult processes as writers we have ever undertaken. We spent many hours of close reading, re-reading, discussing, sometimes disagreeing, and finding ways to talk through our responses and interpretations of each submission. And, the result at the end of this process is that we accepted only 20% of submissions.
We have publications from writers and artists from diverse communities: Brazil, Singapore, India, Scotland, South Africa, Canada, England, and the United States; even more countries and cultures are represented by writers and artists living in the diaspora, including the Caribbean, Columbia, Mexico, Philippines, Palestine and many more. The majority of contributors are people of color. We have stories, poems and art that address the intersections of race, class, sexuality, gender, disability, mental health, spirituality, colonialism, immigration, displacement, exile, gentrification, and more.
There is heart in these pages. There is pain. There is struggle. There is resistance. There is healing. There is disbelief. There is irreverence. There is prayer. There is ceremony. There is revelation. There is transformation.
We are honored beyond words to be editing this anthology. We thank everyone who submitted their work. We thank the contributors. We thank A. J. Bryce for believing in the vision of this anthology even before the first submission came in.
With all our love,
Amir and Helen